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STATEMENT: WRI Response to the 2015 State of the Union Address

In his State of the Union address, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to address climate change. As he said, "no challenge -- no challenge -- poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change."

In response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, following is a statement from Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute:

“President Obama made it clear that he intends to solidify the nation’s leadership on climate change. The Obama administration is primed to build on the progress of the past six years and bring countries together around an international climate agreement. He plans to take action based on science and will not to be deterred by those who reject the evidence.

“As the president said, 14 of 15 warmest years on record have occurred in this century. 2014 was the warmest year since records began in 1880. With the planet warming and global emissions rising, ongoing leadership by the United States is urgently needed.

“Over the past 12 months, the Obama administration announced a major joint commitment with China to reduce emissions, moved forward with national standards for power plants, set a new goal to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas production, and committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund. Together, these actions show that the administration understands the risks of mounting climate impacts and the far reaching economic benefits of smart climate policies.

“The fingerprints of climate change are everywhere: from crop-wilting droughts to powerful downpours and intensifying coastal flooding. America’s cities are on the front lines, where sea level rise and other impacts are driving up risks and costs. That’s why city officials are working across party lines to implement solutions that will protect all Americans.

“President Obama presented a vision of a strong economy based on 21st century technology. As the New Climate Economy report finds, by expanding on renewables and technological innovation, the U.S. can accelerate the shift to a low-carbon economy. A primary focus should be implementing ambitious and achievable power plant standards, which can reduce U.S. emissions and open new opportunities in the growing renewable energy industry.

“In the coming year, the administration can forge ahead with policies that benefit people at home and reaffirm its commitment to the global community. With President Obama’s leadership, the U.S. can be a catalyst for an international climate agreement. The president can protect the planet and seal his legacy as a transformative leader in the face of this global challenge.”

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